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The Myth of Sisyphus: How to Best Cast Camus' Skeptical Challenge that Life Lacks Meaning

albert camus the meaning of life the myth of sisyphus the myth of sisyphus explained thomas nagel Sep 30, 2020

Discover the sharpest way to press Camus's skeptical challenge: You don't know that your life is meaningful. The challenge is best cast as epistemological, not metaphysical.

Camus' challenge is like other skeptical challenges. They bring into your awareness a possibility of error you ignore in everyday life. You believe you do stuff in life that matters and is worthwhile. But, nothing you do is ultimately worthwhile. It will not have a lasting impact. From a cosmic perspective, everything you do will come to nothing. You will eventually die and all your accomplishments will fade. Camus thought this clash between the internal and cosmic perspective captured the meaninglessness of life.

Philosopher Thomas Nagel argued a better way of understanding the absurd is a clash between two internal perspectives. You take seriously your life projects. You believe you're doing things that are worthwhile. But, all that you do is open to doubt. Such doubt undercuts your justification for believing that what you do in life matters. You don't know that your life is meaningful. This video unpacks this understanding of Camus' skeptical challenge. And it unpacks the logic of what's really at issue in the debate over the meaning of life in contemporary philosophical research.

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